The Chicago city council's first openly gay alderman was sworn in Thursday when restaurateur Tom Tunney took the oath of office. Tunney was confirmed by a 41-0 vote of the city council. Mayor Richard M. Daley nominated Tunney last month to succeed Alderman Bernard Hansen, who retired in November after citing health reasons. As alderman of the 44th ward, Tunney will represent an area on Chicago's north side well known for its gay nightclubs and Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. "If Tom Tunney can do as good a job as Bernie Hansen did representing his constituents, the people of the 44th ward will be well represented," Alderman Edward Burke said.
The ward seat is up for grabs in the February 25 city elections, and Tunney, 47, is among several candidates hoping to win the seat and a four-year term on the 50-member city council. "I commend the mayor and my aldermanic colleagues for making this city stronger through diversity representing all communities," Tunney said. He then directed his comments toward his new constituents: "I will devote myself to be an alderman for all of you."